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FINING GOOD AND BAD CORKS.

491

There has been lately introduced from Paris, a very compact little metal bottle-carrier, having the advantage over the usual kinds, that it is smaller, does not collect sawdust, &c., and is not injured by being left in a damp cellar. The drawing on the preceding page is a sketch of it.

FINING, CORKS, ETC.

Fining is very simple; and I believe there is nothing better than the whites of fresh-laid eggs and real sturgeon isinglass; but I have abandoned my intention of describing the operation, as it would require entering into many details. Whites of eggs are generally used for red, and isinglass for white wines; but the rules laid down in books as to a certain number or weight are, necessarily, often wrong; since it is evident that one pipe of port, &c., or butt of sherry, young, stout, and strong, may require twelve eggs, or one ounce of isinglass, while for others, old and mature, half these quantities may be sufficient.

The best way is to request the merchant from whom the wine is bought to put in the finings before sending it off; and, if it is for bottling, I would recommend the purchaser to procure from him also the proper quantity of the very finest corks.

Many a cask is spoiled, owing to bad corks and dirty bottles; and it is money well bestowed to employ a person who understands these matters, and will act

fairly. If a wine cooper in London be wanted, I believe Mr. Rolfe of Great St. Helens may be relied upon in every respect.

It is greatly to be desired that there were one legal measure for bottles, but this seems impracticable; and the only way to escape being deceived is to act as is done in the other transactions of lifeby dealing only with those who are considered respectable, or else to purchase in cask, and bottle at home.

Among respectable wine merchants the recognised fair bottle is six to the gallon ; but many others use a much smaller size; and consequently, when they sell at the same nominal price, receive a greater profit. While millions of old bottles exist, there seems no way of compelling the use of any certain size.

When gentlemen purchase in cask, there is no use in their incurring the expense of buying new bottles if they have old ones already; for, of whatever shape or size they be, they are of glass; and port, sherry, claret, &c., will keep as well in one shape as in another, provided both be perfectly clean. With wine merchants whose object in bottling is to sell, it is different, for they must use regular shapes.

In France there is the litre, the standard legal measure, about a fourth larger than our bottle of six to the gallon ; but the use of other sizes is allowed, and many do not contain much more than a common pint.

Complaints seem at length to have reached the ear

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of the Minister of Agriculture, for he has addressed the following letter to the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Dijon

PARIS : June 10, 1864. Sir,-Reports received from England state that our trade with that country is much injured, owing to the smallness of the bottles. It appears that certain houses, instead of using the size expected, get them manufactured for themselves, of very thick glass, and of small content, so that there is often a deficiency in their capacity of from 10 to 20 per cent.

While requesting the attention of the chamber to these facts, I wish to guard myself against the supposition that I include the majority of the exporters, who are honourable men, among those of whom the English merchants complain. But you will be pleased to make known in your district, the injurious consequences which these fraudulent acts have caused to our trade with England. Make it also known, that as the treatment of our wines is but little understood in the United Kingdom, our finest growths are usually imported in bottle, and that it is necessary for the interest of our trade in wine that as scrupulous attention be paid to the quantity as to the quality.

ARMAND BEHIC.

Since the above was written, there has been a long ' leading article' in The Times about bottles, written in its usual clever style, but evidently by one ignorant of the subject. The great authority on wine matters, the Moniteur Vinicole, of June 29th, contains some remarks, of which I extract the following:

· Not only has the letter of Monsieur Behic been sent to Dijon, but to all Chambers of Commerce, and, among others, to that of Paris, where, it must be admitted, the fraud in the size of bottles is carried on in the most barefaced manner (est pratiquée avec une audace qui rende son impunité désolante).

It is doubtful if there could be found one restaurateur in a hundred, one dealer in five hundred, or one retailer in a thousand, who gives the just, legal quantities. It is right, it is fortunate, that the attention of the minister has been called to such a deeprooted abuse, which causes honest men to feel ashamed and to blush. (Il est bon, il est heureux, que des abus aussi enracinés, aussi éhontés, et dont rougit le commerce honnête, aient frappé le regard du ministre compétent, et révolté sa conscience.')

CHAPTER XXIV.

GOUT.

No personal Experience -Letter from a Physician-Average annual

Consumption in Mayence-Gout almost unknown there—Produced by too much Azote-Bi-carbonate of Potash - Letter from Bordeaux -Letters from a Gentleman in London, and from a Country Gentleman.

HA
AVING, happily, no personal experience of gout,

I cannot say much about it, but have sought for information ; and I copy letters from Mayence, on

; the Rhine, from Bordeaux, and from two English gentlemen who are sufferers from its attacks. Whatever may be the cause, I do not presume to guess ; there is, however, no doubt that it is infinitely more common among ourselves than anywhere abroad.

MAYENCE : January 1863. If we wish to arrive at a correct knowledge whether the use of Rhenish wines tends to produce Gout, we must, in the first place, acquaint ourselves with certain facts as existing in those towns which form the centre of the country which produces them.

1st. In what number do cases of real gout occur, distinct from rheumatism, with which it is frequently confounded ?

2nd. What is, approximately, the quantity of Rhenish wines consumed in those towns ?

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